Amazing Praising

The only tool that Satan has in his toolbox is deception. He is quite adept at using it in all situations, and he can even craft circumstances with it to come against the Saints of God.

 

Deception is a powerful tool. Satan uses it to blind the eyes and to dull the mind of the wounded, weak or foolish people who choose to believe his lies. He can even deceive the elect of God.

 

He leads them like oxen with rings in their noses and they do his bidding and haul his load without complaint. Some are even proud of their rebellion and accomplishments for his glory.

 

However, there are those who come to Christ in humility, abide in His Word and serve as His disciples. He sanctifies us as He teaches us His truth; and His truth frees us from bondage to Satan’s deceptive lies (John 8:31-32, 17:17; Ephesians 6:14).

 

God’s love in our heart bursts forth in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We sing and make music in our heart to the Lord all day long, giving thanks to Him for everything He brings our way, even the negative aspects (Ephesians 5:19-20).

 

We are not required to live as a super-Saint in order to praise Him in the negative circumstances. We praise by the power of Christ in us regardless of our spiritual maturity, feelings, anxiety and stress level.

 

It is amazing how praising will turn the most debilitation anxiety into a tiny nagging bother, which we can easily turn over to God’s capable hands whenever we encounter it or think about it.

 

Prayer:

Father God, the world encourages us to take control of our life, which is virtually impossible to do for very long. However, You lead us to surrender control to You and to wait patiently for Your deliverance and guidance in the midst of our trauma and the tangled webs woven by Satan to restrict our walk with You. We thank You for Your involvement in our individual life.

 

When we become new Believers in Christ, You transform our thinking from negative worriers, as the world trains us to do, to positive victors by Your Holy Spirit. You conform our thoughts to Your thoughts and You direct our steps to accomplish all that You plan for us during each day (Proverbs 3:5-6). We continually praise You for caring so much for every one of us and each detail of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

A sanctuary is a safe and secure place designed to give people a place to duck away from the trials and enemies plaguing us; it is a place of holiness and worship, and God desires that we dwell with Him in His Sanctuary each moment of our entire life.

 

The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ

We no longer please God by our works, as the Saints did in Old Testament times. Jesus taught us that keeping religious laws was not necessary to receive His free gift of salvation (Romans 9:33; Isaiah 8:14-15).

 

His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross freed us from the law of sin and death and made us holy and sanctified in the sight of God. Christ abides in us, and we are in Him, completely transformed from our old carnal nature and set free to live in holiness.

 

We no longer strive by the law to be holy, because Christ in us is holy. We please Him by living by faith, by resting in His finished work of redemption and by recognizing that He exchanged our sin and deprivation for His righteousness in us.

 

His Law of Life gives us freedom from the Law of Sin and Death that we could never attain by living under works. God actually gives us both the desire and the ability to work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

Even our flesh loses its desire to sin, and wants instead to please God with every fiber of our being. Our self-worth and security come from our relationship with our risen Savior.

 

We learn what Mary did: that it is better to sit at Jesus’ feet and walk by the direction of His Spirit than to spin our wheels like a modern day Martha, who is consumed by the busyness of life in this world.

 

We no longer sacrifice at the Temple, because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:47-50; Isaiah 66:1-2). We meet together now in the sanctuary to learn God’s Word, to fellowship around a meal, and for special purposes for outreach, evangelism and church growth.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we do not want to invalidate Your gracious free gift by allowing our faith to become a ritual. This would annul the work of Christ on the cross. Justification does not come through our works, but by hearing Your Word, receiving Your Spirit and believing by faith Your gospel of Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice (Galatians 2:21; 3:2).

 

Help us to find our Sabbath Rest in You and to listen, hear and obey Your voice through Your Word and by the direction of Your Spirit during each moment of our day. Remind us not to entangle our self in pharisaical laws, but to walk in the freedom You provided for us through Christ’s work in us.

 

Thought for the Day:

If our service to God amounts to nothing more than calloused obedience to the letter of the law rather than in an intimate relationship with the Trinity, we miss the point of Jesus dying on the cross, forfeit a personal relationship with Him, and miss the opportunity to find fulfillment in the deepest recesses of our soul.

 

The Heart of a Child

Jesus instructed us that the only way to enter heaven is to first humble our self and learn to view life as a little child (Matthew 18:3). Does this mean that we throw temper tantrums, insist on not sharing our ‘toys’ and rebel against parental authority? No, of course not.

 

Jesus is exhorting us to maintain that wide-eyed innocence and delight in the simple pleasures of life. Did you ever buy your child an expensive toy that was all the rage; only to have them throw the toy aside and play with the box?

 

That is what Jesus implied. He was appalled that so many Saints were “maturing” and leaving the elementary principles of the faith. He even gave us stories in His Word documenting children and their simplistic trust in Him (1 Samuel 3:10; Luke 2:40-52).

 

As we simplify our life and rid our schedule of so many details that keep us from communing with Our Father, walking in His Spirit and obeying His Word, we find our intimacy with Him growing more intense and more deeply than ever before.

 

Worldly distractions detract from our childlike faith and trust in God. Continuing to delight in the first flowers of Spring, the giggle of a little baby, the buzz of bees in the grass, the songs of birds in the trees, the antics of a pet, shapes in the clouds, dolphin frolicking in the waves, etc. keeps our heart young and our trust in God faithful and true.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to simplify our life each day, even in the middle of our adult responsibilities, so that we relate to You as our Father. We want to walk as obedient children and we look forward to inheriting Your Kingdom with our Brother and Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

 

Prevent us from getting so calloused that we harden our heart toward the simple pleasures of life, so that we, more and more, desire the trappings of this world in our attempt to be happy.

Our relationship with You is what provides us with true joy and peace, because Your love pours over us constantly as a waterfall that has no end for its supply.

 

Thought for the Day:

The cares of our adult life usually rob us of the simple joys that God provides for us each day; only little children notice them and thank God for them, growing deeper in their love for their Savior, as well as their innocence and simplicity.

 

Our Potential in Christ

Our basic human needs are to feel loved, accepted, worthwhile and meaningful. If these areas are not fulfilled for us, we suffer in a pit of negative emotions.

 

Satan uses these inadequacies to tempt us to sin. These legitimate needs, in the devil’s hands, cause us to marry the wrong person, work in an unfulfilling career, add more busyness to our schedule, etc. all in an attempt to validate these areas of our soul.

 

Our attempt at a solution only makes our life more hectic and unfulfilled, however; until we come to realize that our sense of self-worth is not based on what we do or who we are.

 

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is the only valid means of having our soul’s needs met. When we call out to Him, He answers us and strengthens us with His holy boldness (Psalm 138:3).

 

He may use people to bring us this needed validation, He may supernaturally supply our needs, or He may even teach us to validate our own soul.

 

God directs us, each moment of our day, to use our spiritual gifts and to exhibit His fruitful nature (Galatians 5:22-23). Then, we find supernatural fulfillment by edifying others.

 

Sadly, people often go to the grave having never used their gifts by the Holy Spirit’s direction. Satan’s lies convinced them that they were not good enough, smart enough, spiritual enough, young enough, mature enough, old enough or enlightened enough to be used by God.

 

As we find our true identity in Christ, we learn to accept our self just as we are; knowing that in the sanctifying process God’s Spirit is transforming us with the mind of Jesus and conforming us into His image ( 2 Corinthians 3:18). He fills us with God’s divine character – the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, show us the reality of who we are in You. Our Christian walk is Your masterpiece. Christianity is not what we do, it is who we are in our very core nature – something that cannot be embraced or discarded with any change of mood or human decision (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; 1 John 3:1-2; 1 Peter 2:8-10).

 

Help us to visualize our self as children of the King, servants of the Most High and eternal God, and stewards of all that You give to us. We want to walk in Your freedom in Christ, as well as in the victory over our flesh, the devil and the world. We give You all of the praise and glory that is due to Your name.

 

Thought for the Day:

We can realize our potential in Christ by walking in the Spirit and loving God by obeying His precepts all the days of our life; then we love one another in the same manner that we love our self. – Mark 12:30-31

 

Religious or Spiritual?

Religious and spiritual used to have similar meanings and were used interchangeably in a sentence or paragraph. However, today they are polar opposites.

 

Religious denotes a person who goes through the motions, one who attempts to earn a place of recognition in society and with God, and one who puts agendas and money above people.

 

Spiritual pertains to people who follow hard after God (Psalm 63:8). They seek a relationship with Him, which is personal and intimate. They walk in the Spirit and focus on people and the spiritual matters of life (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

What category do you fall into, religious or spiritual? Are we just going through the motions and playing the part, or are we genuinely repentant of our sins and wanting to mature in our spiritual walk?

 

Do we attend church out of duty or desire, or not at all (Hebrews 10:25)? Do we serve in a ministry or just show up to Sunday morning service to get brownie points with God and then go home?

 

Is Christ our whole life, with everything else as lesser priorities (Colossians 3:4)? Do we seek God before we do anything and allow Him to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

No one is perfect yet; we all fail or get lazy now and then; but are we striving to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 13:5?), and to allow His Spirit to transform us with the character and divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23)?

 

There is only one mediator between God and mankind, and that is Jesus. Once we surrender our life to Him, we have confidence as co-heirs of God’s Kingdom to enter His throne room at any time day or night (Hebrews 9:8-9; Isaiah 66:1).

 

Prayer:

Father God, in Old Testament times, You gave Your Saints a tabernacle, priests, a method of worship that included laws and precepts and the sacrifice of animals – shed blood that covered sins that started with You shedding blood to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness when they sinned and had to leave Your Paradise.

 

Since Jesus came as our ultimate sacrifice (John 2:19-21), You now engrave Your laws on our heart; You make us kings and priests; and we hear from You for our self rather than through a priest (Jeremiah 31:33-34; Hebrews 8:8-12). We no longer sacrifice animals to You to cover our sins, and we trust in You alone as our Savior and our God.

 

Thought for the Day:

God helps us in any time of need and He disciplines us as His children when we get off the straight and narrow road and wander onto the wide road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

 

Rescue 911

God is always available to us in the middle of any emergency, and also in times of abundance and blessing. Our love for Him does not depend on Him rescuing us, but simply because He loved us before we loved Him – even while we were still living in the depths of sin.

 

When our life is crumbling down around our ears, when the fiery furnace is seven time hotter than normal, when it feels like God abandoned us to face an issue on our own, we know that God will never, ever leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

God does not work on our timetable or according to our dictates – no matter how fervently we pray or how many Bible verses that we quote at Him. He does everything in His own timing and way, even if we do not understand why.

 

Rather than to hurl accusations at Him, or to allow Satan’s lies about our situation to cause us to grow bitter and resentful toward the Lord, we love Him unconditionally, just as He loves us.

 

Even when we doubt, He helps our unbelief (Mark 9:24). He is our hiding place in all of our times of trouble (Psalm 32:7). He calls us to be still, to simplify our schedule, and to remember that He is our God (Psalm 46:10), as He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

 

When we feel overwhelmed, God encourages us to hide under the shelter of His wings (Psalm 36:7). Then, He directs us to stop living by our human understanding and to walk in His will for our life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Rather than work for God, we step aside and give God access to our life; so that He can live in us and through us. We no longer rely on our carnal reasoning, but we acknowledge Him and seek His guidance for each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your guidance during each moment of our life encourages us to cling to You for salvation, deliverance and guidance during every issue that arises. We know that You are God, and there is no other god like You (Isaiah 44:6). Everything and everyone else we attempt to rely on fail us, but You are an everlasting provision, peace and presence in our life.

 

Thank You for sending Jesus to die in our place in order to pay the penalty for our sins. Remind us that the more we live in Your presence and follow Your precepts, the more sin is as abhorrent to us as it is to You; and we do not want it in our presence any more than You do.

 

Thought for the Day:

God is our only rock in stormy seas, our only fortress when our enemy assaults us, our only salvation through every issue we face in life (Psalm 62:2), and remembering these facts gives us confidence to trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

Slow Answers to Prayer

Sometimes we feel that God is too slow in answering our prayers. He is way too patient with sin all around us, He allows trials to go on for too long, and when we think that we need immediate help with an issue, He takes His time answering. This can be very frustrating to us.

 

The Bible is full of people who felt this same way. Job sat in an ash pit for longer than his friends thought he should, Noah preached without a convert for 120 years, Moses never got to see the Promised Land because he threw a temper tantrum and disobeyed God (Numbers 20:15-16).

 

Each of these instances in the Bible disclose how God reveals His presence to His Saints, even in the midst of their trials. A deep and unwavering love between the Creator and the created developed during these heart breaking moments.
I fall back on the lessons these Believers learned each time I linger in the pit of despair:

 

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls … yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

 

“But even if He does not (save us from the fiery furnace), we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:18).

 

“For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you’.” (Psalm 32:7-8).

 

Jesus lived on this sin-cursed planet for 33 years and paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. This fact always causes me to shout a victory cry, even if it does seem that God is taking forever to answer one of my prayers.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I will rejoice in the fact that You are God. My joy comes only from my relationship with You. Regardless of my circumstances, I will find my joy, not in my prayers being answered, but in the fact that You are our Savior and King. Although I experience trauma in certain events in my life, I know that You protected me from circumstances that could have been so much worse. I will serve You as a slave, regardless of the perks or paycheck.

 

I will not grumble or complain, but look for the seed for a miracle that You plant in the soil of each trial that You permit to come my way. I trust in You and have faith in Your faithfulness that You have proven to me so many times during my lifetime. I give you all the praise and glory for who You are and what You have already done for me – especially that You provided Jesus to pay the penalty for my sins.

 

Thought for the Day:
The love of an authentic Believer for our God and Savior never wavers. It simply grows deeper and more intimate as the days go by. We never forget His benefits now and those He promised that are ours for eternity.